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POPE PIUS VI.
Is it to him, in whose wrong we have in our late negotiation ceded his now unhappy countries near the Rhone, lately amongst the most flourishing (perhaps the most flourishing for their extent) of all the countries upon earth, that we are to prove the sincerity of our resolution to make peace with the republic of barbarism ? That venerable potentate and pontiff is sunk deep into the vale of years; he is half disarmed by his peaceful character; his dominions are more than half disarmed by a peace of two hundred years, defended as they were, not by forces, but by reverence; yet in all these straits we see him display, amidst the recent ruins and the new defacements of his plundered capital, along with the mild and decorated piety of the modern, all the spirit and magnanimity of ancient Rome !—Letters on a Regicide Peace.
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
His illness was long, but borne with a mild and cheerful fortitude, without the least mixture of anything irritable or querulous, agreeably to the placid and even tenor of his whole life. He had, from the beginning of his malady, a distinct view of his dissolution; and he contemplated it with that entire composure, which nothing but the innocence, integrity, and usefulness of his life, and an unaffected submission to the will of Providence, could bestow. In this situation he had every consolation from family tenderness, which his own kindness to his family had indeed well deserved.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was, on very many accounts,
one of the most memorable men of his time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste, in grace, in facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned ages. In portrait he went beyond them; for he communicated to that department of the art in which English artists are the most engaged, a variety, a fancy, and a dignity derived from the higher branches, which even those who professed them in a superior manner did not always preserve when they delineated individual nature. His portraits remind the spectator of the invention of history and of the amenity of landscape. In painting portraits, he appears not to be raised upon that platform, but to descend to it from a higher sphere. His paintings illustrate his lessons, and his lessons seem to have been derived from his paintings. He possessed the theory as perfectly as the practice of his art. To be such a painter, he was a profound and penetrating philosopher.
In full happiness of foreign and domestic fame, admired by the expert in art and by the learned in science, courted by the great, caressed by sovereign powers, and celebrated by distinguished poets, his native humility, modesty, and candour never forsook him, even on surprise or provocation; nor was the least degree of arrogance or assumption visible to the most scrutinising eye in any part of his conduct or discourse.
His talents of every kind-powerful from nature, and not meanly cultivated by letters—his social virtues in all the relations and in all the habitudes of life, rendered him the centre of a very great and
unparalleled variety of agreeable societies, which will be dissipated by his death. He had too much merit not to provoke some jealousy, too much innocence to provoke any enmity. The loss of no man of his time can be felt with more sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow.
“ Hail ! and farewell !"
Lord North was a man of admirable parts; of general knowledge; of a versatile understanding fitted for every sort of business; of infinite wit and pleasantry; of a delightful temper; and with a mind most perfectly disinterested. But it would be only to degrade myself by a weak adulation, and not to honour the memory of a great man, to deny that he wanted something of the vigilance and spirit of command, that the time required.-Letter to a Noble Lord.
SIR SIDNEY SMITH. Sir Sydney Smith having attempted, with great gallantry, to cut out a vessel from one of the enemy's harbours, was taken after an obstinate resistance; such as obtained him the marked respect of those who were witnesses of his valour, and knew the circumstances in which it was displayed. Upon his arrival at Paris, he was instantly thrown into prison; where the nature of his situation will best be understood, by knowing, that amongst its mitigations, was the permission to walk occasionally in the court, and to enjoy the privilege of shaving himself. On the old system of feelings and principles, his sufferings might have been entitled to consideration, and even in a comparison with those
of citizen La Fayette, to a priority in the order of compassion. If the ministers had neglected to take any steps in his favour, a declaration of the sense of the house of commons would have stimulated them to their duty. If they had caused a representation to be made, such a proceeding would have added force to it. If reprisal should be thought advisable, the address of the house would have given an additional sanction to a measure which would have been, indeed, justifiable without any other sanction than its own reason. But no. Nothing at all like it. In fact, the merit of Sir Sydney Smith, and his claim on British compassion, was of a kind altogether different from that which interested so deeply the authors of the motion in favour of citizen La Fayette. In my humble opinion, Captain Sir Sydney Smith has another sort of merit with the British nation, and something of a higher claim on British humanity, than citizen La Fayette. Faithful, zealous, and ardent, in the service of his king and country ; full of spirit; full of resources; going out of the beaten road, but going right, because his uncommon enterprise was not conducted by a vulgar judgment : in his profession, Sir Sydney Smith might be considered as a distinguished person, if any person could well be distinguished in a service in which scarcely a commander can be named without putting you mind of some action of intrepidity, skill, and vigilance, that has given them a fair title to contend with any men, and in any age. But I will say nothing farther of the merits of Sir Sydney Smith : the mortal animosity of the regicide enemy supersedes all other panegyric. Their hatred is a judgment in his favour without appeal. At present he is lodged in
the tower of the Temple, the last prison of Louis XVI., and the last but one of Maria Antoinetta of Austria; the prison of Louis XVII.; the prison of Elizabeth of Bourbon.—Letters on a Regicide Peace.
Surely Great Britain and Ireland ought to join in wreathing a never-fading garland for the head of Grattan.—Letter to William Smith, Esq.